In a town acclaimed for honouring ancient folklore, a young girl finds herself vulnerable to a sinister mythological farmer after failing to contribute to the annual tradition.
Credits / Collaborators / Cast
Directed by: Ethan Evans
Written by: Ethan Evans & Jess Bartlett
Produced by: Jess Bartlett
Prod. Co: Terror Arcade
D.O.P.: Robin Niedojaldo
Prod Design: Rebecca Curran-Hughes
Editor & VFX: Nicholas Bendle
Post Sound & Music: Ethan Evans
1st AD: Elise Martin
1st AC & Colour: Sam East
2nd AC & Gaffer: Gabriel Niedojadlo
Spark: Sam Oxton
Sound Recordist: George Elliott
Make up: Kate Goulding
Art Dept. Assistant & Stills Photography: Billy Evans
Costume Assistant: Huw Richards Evans
Willow: Lamissah La-Shontae
Mrs Maple: Philippa Howard
Barnaby: Anthony Niescior
Pupil #1: Catriona Temple
Pupil #2: Charlie Wilson
Pupil #3: Liam Middleton
Pupil #4: Kimora Ponsford
Singers: XYZ Music Academy
The story behind the film
Low-budget and completely self-funded, Wither was a labour of love and the first short we made post-uni! When writing Wither, Jess (Co-writer/Producer) and I wanted to create a narrative inspired by supernatural folklore within a distinctly British setting. I’m a strong believer in mystery being the key to successful horror and was so excited to create a short that felt like an eerie campfire-style tale!
Wither revolves around the strange traditions people believe in and the fearful effect it can have on people’s lives. I aimed to present the power that certain stories have on a child’s imagination, and as someone who grew up suffering from severe anxiety, I felt compelled to reflect this in Willow; I wanted to visually depict the unbearable feeling of when an unsettling thought consumes the mind. When creating the world, my goal was for everything to feel as if they had a place in a small, traditional, secluded British town. When working with Robin (Director of Photography), we chose to use a naturalistic, gloomy style of lighting and that it was a cold, unforgiving place to live. Rebecca (Production Designer) and I also felt that it was important to have an earthy colour palette. When creating the score and sound design, I wanted to only utilise sounds that could have a physical place within the world, so I manipulated a lot of traditional orchestral instruments and strictly avoided anything that sounded synthesized. I also wanted the score to have a childlike nature to reflect the narrative as well as possessing an organic quality, as if it was its own omniscient character.
Instead of explicitly telling the audience the myth of the ‘man’, my aim was to hint at it creatively throughout the film. In the words of H.P. Lovecraft, “The oldest and strongest kind of fear is the fear of the unknown”!